UK issues warning against all travel to Ethiopia as conflict intensifies

British citizens in the country advised to leave immediately

The UK has updated its travel advice for Ethiopia after military clashes in the country.

The government is advising against all travel to Ethiopia and is urging British citizens to leave the country, “while commercial routes are available".

The advice update from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office came as the UN said at least 16 of its staff had been detained in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Thousands of people have been killed in the year-long war, which has forced more than two million from their homes and left 400,000 people in Tigray facing famine.

Conflict in the north of the country broke out when forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front seized military bases in the region.

In response, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent in troops, who initially drove the TPLF out of the regional capital, Mekelle, but since June have been repelled.

The Foreign Office said the conflict “has the potential to escalate and spread quickly and with little warning".

“The FCDO now advises against all travel to Ethiopia, except for Addis Ababa Bole International Airport [where advice remains against all but essential travel]," the office said.

"The FCDO also advises you to leave Ethiopia while commercial routes are available.

“You should leave Ethiopia now while commercial options are still available. It is likely to become much more difficult to leave Ethiopia in the coming days.

“Consular support is severely limited across Ethiopia. In the event of deterioration in the political or security situation, the British embassy may be limited in the assistance that it can provide.

“Do not rely on the FCDO being able to evacuate you in an emergency.”

It is unclear how many British citizens are in the East African country.

The FCDO said “good commercial options” were available to most destinations from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, with most domestic flights operating normally.

The UN has recently called on all parties in Ethiopia “to put an end to hostilities and to negotiate a lasting ceasefire".

Updated: November 9th 2021, 8:00 PM